How to Play the Dsus2 Chord on a Guitar
The Dsus2 is a nice and easy chord shape that sounds great on guitar. The fingering for Dsus2 is extremely straightforward:
- place your first (index) finger on the second fret of the third string.
- place your third (ring) finger on the third fret of the second string.
- strum strings four through one, making sure not to strum the low E and A strings.
Do this, and you’re playing the chord. Now, start to master it.
The Basic Dsus2 Guitar Chord Shape
Whereas most chords guitarists play are either some sort of major chord (D major, D major7 and D7 all fall into this category) or minor (D minor, D minor7, or even D minor/major7), the Dsus2 chord is neither major nor minor. The good news is, it can often be used in cases where you’d play either a major or a minor chord.
The reason the chord doesn’t qualify as major or minor is because of the choice of notes it contains. Any major chord contains only three distinct notes — the first, third, and fifth notes of a major scale. A minor chord, conversely, contains the first, flattened (down one semitone) third and fifth notes of a major scale. It is that note in the middle (the “third”) that determines whether a chord sounds major or minor.
The Dsus2 chord skirts the issue, as it contains the first, second, and fifth notes of a major scale. Because that third isn’t represented, the Dsus2 can generally be used in cases where you’d see either a D minor or a D major.
When to Use the Dsus2 Chord
Although you may be technically okay to simply play a Dsus2 whenever you see a D major or D minor chord, your ear will often beg to differ. Whereas the sound of a major or minor chord is “static” (you can strum one all day and it’ll sound just fine the way it is), the Dsus2 chord sounds like it wants to resolve to a major or minor chord. In plain English, when you play a Dsus2, you’re generally going to want to follow it up with either a D minor or a D major chord.
You’ll often hear the Dsus2 chord in close proximity to a Dsus4 chord. A great example of this is in John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” in which you’ll hear John strumming the following pattern on his acoustic guitar:
D major | Dsus2 | Dsus4 | D major
The song actually begins on an A major chord, but it nonetheless follows this pattern of major to Dsus2 to Dsus4 to D major.
Similarly, you can experiment with playing D minor to Dsus2 back to D minor again. The sus2 and sus4 chords are great ones to use when you’re supposed to hold a major or minor chord for a long period of time. Instead of just strumming D major for two bars, for example, you can start on D major, embellish a bit with Dsus2 and Dsus4, and then return to D major.